This Week At City Hall & Social Justice Committee Update: Chief Summers Discusses Violence in Freeport

"We have 64 calls of shots fired in Freeport, those are the number of calls that we have evidence of.”

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Hillary Broshous is First Woman in Freeport History Named as Lieutenant of Fire Department

We were able to catch up with Fire Chief Liggett, who recently returned from vacation, after this week’s Social Justice Committee meeting. As you may know from last week’s reporting, the Fire Department is making history with the promotion of Hillary Broshous to the position of Lieutenant, making her the first woman to hold this rank in the department’s 164 year history. We asked Liggett for his thoughts, to which he provided the following statement;

 “Lt. Hillary Broshous has worked for the FFD since 2010. She has served as a Firefighter, Firefighter- Paramedic, Fire/Arson Investigator, Public Educator and Recruiter. Lt. Broshous has worked hard to prepare herself for the role she will play as a Lieutenant with opportunity through training, certifications and filling in for Lieutenants that are absent. She has made the department proud by working diligently towards this goal. Her promotion to Lieutenant is historic as the first female firefighter in the Freeport Fire Department to attain this rank, her progression is indicative of her commitment to the highest traditions of the fire service.”- Bradley Liggett

Priscilla Ian Joins Social Justice Committee

We reported last week Mayor Jodi Miller had appointed a new member to the SJC, and this week Priscilla Ian attended her first regular meeting. In an awkward moment, committee member Patricia Norman called for a point of order after hearing Ian speak for the first time saying, “Can I call for a point of order? I don’t know who just spoke”. It appears the committee was not informed that a new member would be joining them. Mayor Miller then gave Ian a moment to address the rest of the committee, an opportunity she used to answer some questions we had asked her earlier in the week. Ian stated that in her position as District Data Strategist for the Freeport School District it is her job to “Analyze student achievement data by comparing that data across different demographics”. She also stated that part of her job is to “Help provide accountability to the systems we have in place that are designed to provide our students a learning experience that suits their needs”. Ian finished her statement saying “My  hope is that through the SJC positive steps can be taken to build mutual trust and understanding with the public, I believe my skills and experience translate to the needs of the citizens and I look forward to serving the community”.

Police Chief Summers Shares Frustration with Shootings

During the Mayor’s report segment of the meeting, Mayor Miller offered time to Police Chief Summers to share some thoughts. He began by mentioning the criticism he faced after his presentation after the 2nd SJC meeting. He said he was accused of grandstanding and talking about how great the department is, and of refusing to meet with citizens. Summers then said “I’ll be the first one to say that the police department has disciplined people, we’ve suspended people, we’ve fired officers, we’ve arrested officers. So we can be better, and we will be better. In that presentation I talked alot about Pat Sellers’ social justice plan and addressed those things, one of the very first people that I went and talked to after the civil unrest was Pat sellers, I had an hour and a half conversation with him about what we can do. Two weeks ago after the last city council meeting we had some people come back up to say we need to adopt Pat Sellers’ plan and we read through these things. The thing is, are we not? I am frustrated that this committee can’t get the information out, or people are choosing not to hear that or see that. He also stated “One thing that I haven’t heard is the cry about the violence that is happening in the community, that wasn’t on the Fire Chiefs list of things that everybody submitted to him. I have a list here, its pages, of shootings since 2012. I’m just gonna focus on 2020. We have 64 calls of shots fired in Freeport, those are the number of calls that we have evidence of.” He continued, “I have a second list of people that have been shot and 20 people this year have been shot, 5 of those have lost their life. Nobody is talking about that, nobody is coming to these meetings to talk about the violence that is disproportionately affecting people of color., and I guess that is where my frustration comes in. Are we focusing on social justice?

Toward the end of the meeting Mayor Miller read from a list of the committee’s accomplishments so far. We have requested a copy of the list and will bring you updates once we have had a chance to review that document.

Adams St. Corridor and Clinton Street Subjects of CDBG Funds

Moving on from Social Justice, the City of Freeport has applied for two community development block grants along the Adam’s Avenue corridor. Mayor Miller states “If awarded, one grant will assist qualified low to moderate income households with home improvements such as furnace replacement, roof repairs, window replacement and other improvements that enhance the value of the property and the surrounding neighborhood. The second grant will finance two thousand square feet of road and water main replacement along Clinton Street, provide for four new hydrants and assist in service to nineteen residents. These grants would bring a combined award of $1,000,000.00 with a local contribution of less than $100,000.00. Such grants are another tool to leverage state and federal dollars at a fractional cost to the City.

Final First Friday Food Truck Frenzy until April 2021

Finally, The City of Freeport hosted it’s last “First Friday Food Truck Frenzy” this week. This is an event that was personally organized by City Clerk Dovie Anderson. We had a chance to speak to Dovie who informed us that the event will be returning in April. She says that the hope is to have these events more often based on the success and interest from citizens and Food Truck owners alike.

The next week is full of important meetings, beginning with the City Council meeting which takes place this monday October 5th. Check out our Facebook page for a full list of events, and be sure to check back next week for an update on all the happenings at City Hall!

Nick Nunez is the City Hall Correspondent for The Voice of Freeport

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